- Karen DeSalvo will be leaving her post as the head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to take up the role of acting assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and assist with the agency's response to the Ebola epidemic.
- DeSalvo has a background in public health (including a role as health commissioner in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina) that HHS intends to leverage in an ongoing capacity. According to an agency statement, DeSalvo will assist HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell "on pressing public health issues, including becoming a part of the department's team responding to Ebola. Dr. DeSalvo has deep roots and a belief in public health and its critical value in assuring the health of everyone, not only in crisis, but every day."
- ONC Chief Operating Officer Lisa Lewis will take up the post as acting national coordinator and DeSalvo will remain as assistant secretary until the Senate confirms a permanent replacement. She will "continue to be available" to the ONC as needed in the meantime.
There has been no official word on whether DeSalvo will take up the role of assistant secretary permanently. The announcement marks yet another departure in an ongoing exodus from the ONC this year. DeSalvo took the post less than a year ago (December 2013), and she exits on the heels of director of eHealth Lygeia Ricciardi, Chief Privacy Officer Joy Pritts and director of the Office of Clinical Quality and Safety Judy Murphy.
Meanwhile, Deputy National Coordinator Jacob Reider also confirmed late Thursday that he will leave ONC in late November.
"In light of the events that led to Karen's announcement today, it's appropriate now to be clear about my plans, as well," Reider said in an email to ONC staff. "With Jon White and Andy Gettinger on board, and a search for a new Deputy National Coordinator well underway, I am pleased that much of this has now fallen into place—with only a few loose ends yet to be completed. I'll remain at ONC until late November, working closely with Lisa as she assumes her role as Acting National Coordinator."